Evan played like a starving kid, unaware of the fact that he should be exhausted. All those toys in my parents’ family room were new to him. And he had been cooped up in several different planes for three days.
I was foggy from jet lag, still processing this return States after almost three years away. I’d been cooped up, too, on that necessary evil of a trip. And it was nice to just watch the kids play.
They were my toys. My sisters’ toys. My brother’s toys. The books I read as a kid. The “little people” house I set up again and again. The miniature plates on which I served pretend food.
In all my years of playing grown up—as a real grown up—I’d forgotten about them. But the childhood memories rushed back. Not the ones that have created my adult insecurities—moving all the time, never fitting in, losing friends again and again. No—these were the ones that made the good in my soul. Created while sitting in my home—wherever it was—and filling a childhood with bright colors and wind-up lullabies.
I’d forgotten other things about my childhood too. Things I get to see again in the grandparent-grandchild relationship. My mom’s ability to turn a grumpy child into a smiling kid with her silliness. My dad’s coaching that turns a whiffle ball game into a chance to teach confidence. The sweetness of a graham cracker shared in the kitchen with my mom.
They remind me of my chance to continue the legacy of the good things from my life in my own kids’ lives. Like stability that is made from commitments that refuse to end. Like time for each other around the dinner table or during a bedtime story—even when life is busy. Like compassion for others—neighbors, friends, strangers—as we go about our lives.
So, in the midst of enjoying what’s new in this home country of mine—all the fancy, new technology, the fun new specials at my favorite restaurants, the latest movies at the theater—I absorb the old that becomes new again.
photo credit, John-Morgan